2/03/2011

c.1920 Schuler (by Richter?) Soprano Ukulele


If you search "Richter" in my blog search tool, you'll find a few other posts of this style uke, the other ones having been labeled (and made?) by the Richter Manufacturing Co. This style dates to c.1920 or so, and most of these had either the early bakelite tuners or all wood pegs. Aside from my other repairs (reglue bridge, reset neck, "new" vintage 12th fret, new saddle to correct string spacing, setup, etc.) I also added some new Grover tuners.

I must say, this uke cleaned up really well, as it was pretty filthy looking when I got it. It's all solid mahogany, extremely lightweight (the tuners are most of the weight), and is bound with Hawaiian-style rope binding and a rope inlaid rosette also in the Hawaiian fashion. The finish has aged in to a nice chocolate satin brown, which looks fantastic.


New bone saddle. I own an identical model of this uke and it's the one I keep in the bedroom for midnight serenades.



Martin fluoro strings. I love these things. They contribute to a nice bell-like, snappy tone.












Check out that old-repair big long side crack... it's very stable, split on the grain, and otherwise this uke is crack free. Fortunately it's on the treble side of the instrument so the player/audience never see it.


I added some beads to the end of the strings to avoid excess slot wear... the two treble slots will just barely hold a knotted string, so this seems to be a much better solution than having them tear the wood out and then be useless in the future.


Label, more than likely pretty fictitious.

3 comments:

gmoney said...

I love your blog & this renovation. Got to ask, since you mention that it was pretty dirty when you got it. Do you use some sort of "special sauce" to clean up a vintage instrument? How about a blog post on the basics of first steps to cleaning?

Antebellum Instruments said...

Mh, I tend to not like to give advice for cleaning as the line between getting something nice and clean and the finish spruced up to really mucking things up is very fine. Having a feel for things is pretty important.

I always swear by a damp cloth/old sock to remove grunge, then buffing out with various polishing cloths (just a clean rag, then polishing papers) for good quality finishes.

That said, to get rid of surface grime and grunge and to bring it all back down to the finish, I often use the neutral variety (no coloration) of Howard's Restore-a-Finish (just a tiny bit) on a tiny pad of #0000 steel wool (or just a clean old sock) and lightly brush and massage the grunge off. I know it sounds hokey but the stuff works GREAT on old-school varnish finishes and very light rubbing can get scuffs off, too. The caveat is that you should avoid areas where a lot of finish is missing as you don't want the stuff sinking into the open wood (it's petroleum based). Also, once you're done, wipe the stuff off really well and buff the finish back out with some clean cloth...

AND!!! Always rub WITH the grain as opposed to against it, as that's the way the finish went on originally and if you DO scuff up the finish by pressing too hard it'll be less evident than if you went cross-grain with it.

Gary G Peterson said...

Hello!

So, I was out shopping for a ukulele a couple weeks ago and happened across a Schuler-made soprano at a local music store in Southern California.

This blog pretty much had the only info. I could find on Schuler-made ukuleles.

Then after a closer look, I realized that the Schuler ukulele in the shop was in fact this exact same instrument-- down to the repaired crack on the underside, and all the other distinguishing features, marks, etc.

Well, perhaps not so surprising, but it was a kick to find background details and repair information concerning the instrument.

Long story, short: bought it and love it! Its a great playing uke with a totally sweet, delightful sound. One happy camper here-- cheers!